Nearly half of people in the most deprived areas of the UK believe that getting cancer is down to fate rather than lifestyle.
A survey by Cancer Research UK among 4,000 respondents found that over a quarter of the population as a whole believe that fate will determine whether or not they get cancer.
But when divided into different social strata, it reveals that a significantly higher percentage of those from deprived areas – 43 per cent – believe this compared with only 14 per cent from privileged backgrounds.
Thirty-four per cent of smokers and 36 per cent of people over 65 think that getting cancer is down to fate.
Virgin Money spokesman Scott Mowbray says: “It is clear there are still a frightening number of people burying their heads in the sand, not only about their chances of getting cancer but also the steps they can take to reduce their risk of getting the disease.”